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Yesterday's sole selection was a winner, winning at a drifted price of 3/1. For a 90 rated chaser, that was a superb round of jumping, and I can't remember a single time where he wasn't flawless over the fences. He could be one to keep on the right side of, as long as he doesn't get much higher in the weights.
MINELLA TRUMP surely has to be the one the rest have to beat in this contest. Donald McCain's 7yo is in very good form at the moment, and there's no reason why he can't continue his progression over fences.
The last three runs have all come at today's track, and have all resulted in wins. He is 3/3 at the Scottish track, which is a big benefit, as he clearly handles the track, and relishes what the track has to offer. He was made to work for his most recent win, but I think he did well to win over a trip which might not be his ideal trip. He has won over 3m before in an Irish PTP, but I think that 2m 4f is more of his optimal conditions these days, so a drop back to today's trip should make his task a little easier.
The last couple of times he has decided to make the running and it has worked out well, so I'm hoping Brian Hughes will let him stride out in front and get him into a nice rhythm again today. He beat Lord Napier a couple of runs ago, and it's hard to envisage him getting close to reverse the form.
As for the others in the field, One Touch was probably my idea of his toughest opponent. He might do better now they've dropped him back down in trip, and gets in this race off a low weight. Pay The Piper enjoyed a short campaign over hurdles, which saw him win three times. He makes his chase debut, and although he has won between the flags, he might need this first run over fences, especially off 11st 6lbs.
The form of Minella Trump's latest win was franked yesterday, as Hewick, who was second to the selection, won over hurdles at Listowel. He is rated much lower over hurdles than he is over fences, but he still won very easily, winning by 4 lengths. This is a good sign as it shows that Minella Trump beat an in form rival.